More of Don's
Presidents' Places: Dwight David Eisenhower
Well, the Eisenhower Center, in Abilene, Kansas, is really a nice place. Shady, well-tended, clean. I stopped at the house first. Knocked on the door. Ike wasn't there, but the tour guide was, and she showed me around the different rooms. Ike actually lived here from soon after he was born, 1890, until he left for West Point, 1911. His family continued to live here.
Ike, as he was called by everyone except his mother, stayed in the military after graduation, slowly working his way up. In World War II, Roosevelt appointed him to lead the Allied armies in Europe; eventually of course the Allies won. At his retirement from the military, he and Mamie chose to live in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he had been stationed a couple of times during his military career. A few years later, Ike ran for the presidency and won. He served for eight years but spent much of his time in the presidency at Gettysburg. The site is now the Eisenhower National Historic Site.
This is the original house; Ike liked this part, but Mamie preferred the newer section:
Ike ran the farm as a "gentleman farmer." The site is still an active farm. The area roundabout is especially lovely in the fall.
Back to the Eisenhower Center in Abalene, Kansas.
The house is furnished with items left in the house by Ike's mother when she died in 1946. It is on its original site.
The five pylons are dedicated to Ike's parents, his brothers, military personnel, civilians, and democracy. The statue is 11' tall, made of bronze.
Ike got better press than most presidents. This cartoon on display in the museum pokes gentle fun at him on the occasion of Hawaii becoming the 50th state.
The Library is for the use of scholars and historians, which is the purpose of presidential libraries.
The Meditation Chapel houses the remains of President Eisenhower and Mamie, and their infant son.
I think Eisenhower is not considered to have been an outstanding general or an outstanding president, but one thing he is honored for by all of us with the wanderlust is the Interstate Highway System in the United States. In the early part of the twentieth century, Ike led an army convoy from coast to coast; it was a horrible task, taking weeks and great physical effort digging trucks out of mudholes and manhandling them over all sorts of natural barriers such as rivers and mountains. He swore then that if he ever had the power, he would establish great highways throughout America. He got the power, and he established the highways. Job well done!